For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link: Bulletin for Sunday July 28, 2013

Pastor’s Corner: Here is our next installment in Catholic basics. Even though this little pamphlet dates from 1912, it is still very up-to-date and useful today:
Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays: Irreligious men and women, to whom, nothing is sacred, usually ridicule this precept of the Catholic Church by saying that meat tastes just as good on Fridays as it does on other days. No doubt. If it did not, Catholics would not gain much merit by abstaining from it on that day. But since it is a mortification to do without meat one day of every week, we trust it will please God if we take this inconvenience upon ourselves on Friday, the day on which our Savior died on the cross for us. [Even after Vatican II, Catholics are still obliged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays throughout the year. If they do eat meat, they are asked to perform some other type of penance on that day]. As we are free to eat anything else we choose, this law of abstinence, after all, is not so very cruel. The best physicians warn against carnivorous habits, laying the blame for many diseases at the door of immoderate consumption of meat. Here, as in many other instances, the Church is as solicitous for our body as for our soul.

Catholics are Bigoted and Intolerant: Let me state here that bigotry means a perverse attachment to certain tenets. But as soon as this attachment is the result of honest, thorough conviction, it ceases to be bigotry. If a Catholic desires others to join the Catholic Church because the Catholic is convinced of the truth of the Church, then you can not call him bigoted. If Catholics were as bigoted as described, they would confine their friendship and charity to their co-religionists. Common experience, however, teaches you that they do not. If a poor man comes to our door or to a Catholic soup kitchen, we do not ask him about his religion before we give him an alms. In our Catholic hospitals, non-Catholics are received and treated just like Catholics.

The Interior of Catholic Churches differs vastly from Protestant places of worship: This is true, and it is good to inquire and learn the reason why. In Catholic Churches the altar and not the pulpit occupies the principal place. The altar has always taken a prominent place in the worship of God. Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, etc., erected altars and offered up sacrifices to God. This was pleasing to the Lord, who often appeared to His servants and commanded them to do so. With the coming of the Son of God, those ancient sacrifices ceased, but the altar remained. Christ offered up the sacrifice on the cross. The Cross was His altar. For this reason every Christian altar is surmounted by the cross. And on the Christian altar is offered up, in the daily Holy Mass, that great sacrifice foretold by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun, says the Lord of Hosts, even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and on every place there is a sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation” [Malachy I: 11].

Our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the cause of the prominent position of the altar in the Catholic Church. Catholics value the attendance at Mass higher than hearing a sermon. The sermon is man’s interpretation of the word of God, but Mass is the sacrifice of God Himself on the Cross in an unbloody but real manner.

What is the Sacrifice of the Mass?: The Mass is the perpetual sacrifice of the New Testament, in which Christ offers Himself to His heavenly Father, through the hands of the priest, in an unbloody manner, as He offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the Cross. Whenever, therefore, the priest says Mass, he enacts the memorial of the bloody drama of Golgotha. The language he uses, the prayers he says, the vestments he wears, the numerous ceremonies he performs, the kneeling attitude of the congregation—all this leads the believing mind back over a space of 2,000 years to that most mournful tragedy which began at the Last Supper and ended with the words of the dying Savior on the Cross: “It is consummated.” More next week.—Msgr. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick: Silvana Smith, Juanita Evans, Joseph W. Evans, Connie Ward, Billy Therriault, Ron DeCamp, Keith Nicholson, Connor Walsh, Katherine Jean Kirby, O.S.F., John Duffy, Mary Rose Bauer, Mary Bauer, Catherine Olnek, Gertha Laurent, Alexandra Laurent, Jean Galasso, Jesus Orbagosa, Gary Everett, Robert Jegle, Bonnie Keyes, Thomas Beirne, Patrick A. Toole, Sr., Katherine Klass, Patricia McNamee, Ian Rice, Diane Grant, Huong Diep Nguyen, Kevin O’Byrne, Paul Cavalli, Peter Baccaro, Megan Bobroske, Harrie Humphreys, Lena Cocchia, Msgr. Peter Dora, Margaret Kelly, Julia Oliveira.

Please pray for those who have recently died: Scott Clark, Rick Agnew, M. Esther Hart, Cliff Linquist, Kathy Robustelli, Yvette Constant, Sr. Fernanda, P.O.S.C., Anne Zerrenner, Gloria Donahue, Donald Sabia, Robert Luden, Donna Fraleigh, Frances White, Hugh Troshynski, Sheila Catherine Beirne, Edward Cipri, Msgr. William A. Nagle, Felix Boursiquot, Alfred Preziosi, Brian M. Murray, Fr. James C. Hoge, O.S.B., Fr. David Howell, Mario Stano, Raymond Jean-Rene, Caroline Pavia, Virginia Raiteri, Myrtle Rocco, Frank Pironto, Betsabe Chung, Dorothy Konopka, Patricia Lee Thiesfeldt, Nancy Claire O’Shea, Louis Angenola, Gerard Phillippe, Naida Cognetta, Cheryl Wolven, Richard Lauture.

Monday Evening Holy Hour: Monday nights 7-8:00 pm for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Rosary in the Basilica. Next Holy Hour, Monday July 29th.

Banns of Marriage:
Banns II: Ann Zopf and Andrew Patterson
Banns III: Brianne Leigh Tafuro and Thomas William Taylor III

Latin Reading Group: Cancelled for the summer.

Biblical Greek Grammar: An intermediate grammar and reading class: Some basic grammatical knowledge of Biblical Greek is required. Thursdays at 6:30 pm in the Rectory. Call the rectory for information.

Basilica Insignia: We have new symbols of our being a papal basilica: a new canopy and a new bell. Both are smaller and more practical for carrying in processions. The canopy or ombrellone was used to protect the popes during the early years of the Church as they walked in procession through Rome. Our canopy has the embroidered coats of arms of the basilica and of Pope Benedict XVI, who named St. John’s a basilica in 2009. The bell or tintinabulum alerted the people that the pope was passing by. Ours is made of carved pieces of oak that originally were part of the confessionals here at St. John’s. There is a small statue of St. Peter beneath the bell.

Summer Bible Discussion Group: For some cool summer reading! We meet each Tuesday evening through the summer from 7-8:00pm. We will read and discuss the Epistle of James, using: James: Pearls for Wise Living Study Set by Jeff Cavins and Sarah Christmyer. This is part of The Great Adventure Bible Study Series, published by Ascension Press, available there for $24.95. It is also available on Amazon through Adoremus Books for about $19.00. Everyone is welcome. Please contact Vicki Johnson at vcomberi@gmail.com or at 203-559-6965, or Leah Kurtz at wkurtz@gmail.com or at 203-222-9796.

Novena of Saint Anne: Saint Anne is the mother of Our Lady. The Novena of prayers will begin on July 17th and continue each day following the 12:10 Mass [on Sunday, at the end of the 11:30 Mass] until the Feast Day, July 26th. Please join us and pray for your family.

ST. JOHN’S 2013 SUMMER CHOIR CAMP: All children ages 5-15 are encouraged to join our summer choir camp!  Registration is free, and the program runs from Monday, July 29th through Thursday, August 1st.  ALL CHILDREN MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE.
For more information, or to register, please visit the St. John’s website, or use this shortcut link:  bit.ly/127dbxz.

Weekly Sunday collection:
Sunday July 21, 2013 $ 12,102.00
Sunday July 22, 2012 $ 13,296.08
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

August 4th, Sunday Readings: Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21.

Annual Bishop’s Appeal: Saint John’s annual goal, set by the diocese, is $100,000. The funds collected are used for the numerous charitable and educational works of the Diocese. We have collected to date: $82,772.00. Please be generous; we need everyone’s help.

Home Schooling Families: A group for home schooling families meets monthly on Tuesday in the Nagle Hall. All ages are welcome. Please contact Bridget Bethray at bridget.bethray@gmail.com, or Janet Lancaster at 203-637-3301, jmlancaster@optonline.net.

St John’s Flock (20’s and 30’s Young Adult Ministry): Come join the Flock for monthly Faith Formation meetings on the 2nd Thursday of the month and other social/service events. For more information, please go to stjohnsflock.com or email core-team@stjohnsflock.com.

Francis & Clare: Our High School Youth Group. Students interested in being part of the Teen Leadership Group: E-mail Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com to get involved.

Project Rachel Ministry: Offers free and confidential help to those seeking healing after abortion. Come back to God, who is love and mercy. Please call (203) 416-1619 or projectrachel@diobpt.org.

Voluntary Services for the Blind: Bring sunshine to someone’s life. Volunteers are needed to be drivers, readers, friendly visitors, shoppers and clerical assistants for legally blind persons. For information, call 203-324-6611, ext 2.

Birthright of Greater Stamford is seeking volunteers: Supports women with unplanned pregnancies to bring their babies to term, providing pregnancy tests, connecting women with medical, financial, legal and other needed resources. Ability to commit 3 hours per week in the office is desirable. Schedules are flexible, and training is provided. Call 348-4355 if interested, or click onto www.birthright.org .

IHM Homeschool Conference – August 2 & 3, 2013: The Immaculate Heart of Mary New York Homeschool and Parent Conference will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel Tarrytown, 455 South Broadway, in Tarrytown, on Friday, August 2nd (2:00pm – 8:00pm) and on Saturday, August 3rd (9:30am – 3:30pm). Confirmed speakers include: Fr. Andrew Apostoli, Fr. Gerald Murray, Dr. Catherine Moran, Mrs. Mary Ellen Barrett, and Mrs. Colleen Hammond! Admission is free and pre-registration is not required. For more information, please visit www.ihmconference.org or call : 540-636-1946.

St. Clement Preschool: will be opening for the Fall of 2013.  NAEYC Accredited & School Readiness Program open to all 3 & 4 year old children.  Please call (203)323-4844 for information & an appointment for a tour.  

Job Seekers: Meets the 4th Monday monthly in the rectory at 7:30pm: There’s no charge. Led by Melanie Szlucha whose company, Red Inc., a leader in helping find jobs. More info, see: www.redinc.biz or 203-866-1606: Next meeting: Monday, August 26th.

Mass Intentions
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, July 27, 2013
4:00 Deceased members of Sexton and Winter Families req. Hannah Sexton Young
Sunday, July 28, 2013
7:30 +James Ritchie req. Jeannene McMurchy
8:30 Richard Boiteau req. Maude and Paul Hughes
10:00 +Helen Cappiello req. Duffy Family
11:30 Special Intentions Ignatius Chu req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
5:00 +Fr. Rufin Kuveikis, O.F.M., Cap.
6:00 +Patrick Kane and Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane and Family
Monday, July 29, 2013
8:00 Special Intentions Elaine and Noel Ramos and Family req. Frank and Zofia Piotrowski
12:10 +Salvatore Mancuso req. Anthony and Carolyn Conte
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
8:00 The Boiteau Family req. Maude and Paul Hughes
12:10 +Elizabeth A. Coughlin req. Eileen Carpanzano and Family
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
8:00 +John Locke req. Nicole and Andrew Peranick
12:10 +Mary Windsor req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Thursday, August 1, 2013
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Tom Timon
12:10 Special Intentions Mary Elizabeth Kung req. Joseph and Agnes Kung
Friday, August 2, 2013
8:00 Faithful Departed
12:10 +Rose Astrid Jean-Guillaume req. Brothers and Sisters
Saturday, August 3, 2013
8:00 +Ronald F. Kilmartin req. Bill Carello
12:10 Neda Chavez and son Edward S. Chavez req. Eva Bates and Joseph Maker

Baptisms: Are celebrated every day of the week, according to the schedule of the parish priests and the families. Baptisms at St. John’s are one-family only ceremonies: never groups. Please call Cindy (203-324-1553, ext 21).

Weddings: Couples must contact and begin meeting with one of the parish priests for at least 6 months before a hoped for wedding date at Saint John’s. Please call the parish secretary, Cindy, or one of the priests for an initial discussion.

Holy Name Society: For the men of the parish, meets Fridays in the Rectory, 7-7:50 a.m. for coffee, Eucharistic Adoration & Benediction. All men of the parish are welcome. We finish in time for the 8am Mass.

Moms & Tots: Moms and their kids meets in the Church each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30a.m.

St. Anne’s Family Society: A Potluck dinner and speaker for families: meets 4 times a year….next date to be announced

Francis & Clare: Co-Ed High School Youth Group. Email Deirdre.garrahan@gmail.com.

Pray to end Legalized Abortion: Fridays, 7-10:30a.m., Stamford’s Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St.

St. Dominic Savio Society and St. Maria Goretti Society: Will resume in September.

Holy Hour: on Monday Nights, 7pm—8 pm. Adoration, Holy Rosary, and Benediction. All are welcome!

The Legion of Mary: Meets on Wednesday Evenings, 7:30 pm ’till 9:00 pm in the Msgr. Nagle Hall. All are welcome.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies: Wednesdays, 7:30 pm in the rectory.

The Latin Reading Group: Meets Wednesday evenings at 6:15 pm in the rectory: basic reading ability required.

Intermediate Studies in Biblical Greek: Intermediate Grammar: Meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in the rectory.

Coffee Hour: Starts again in September.

St. John’s in THE NEWS:.

THE CONNECTICUT CATHOLIC:
135 years ago, or so:
August 3, 1878: STAMFORD. “The spirit of intolerant bigotry seems not yet extinct in this enlightened age even in our good little state of Connecticut. A veritable case of priest-hunting, presenting a reminder of the days of old, occurred here recently. As customary at this season, the annual collection and census of the parish are taken by our respected pastors. All went smoothly till on reaching the house of a retired brush-maker, from Pearl street, and, as we are informed, married to an Irish wife, a pervert to the faith, and which house, according to reliable information, contained two Catholic immigrants. Father Gleason, on entering the premises of the gentleman (?) who is supposed to have acquired a competency in war times, met Father Gleason with a rough denial that he had any Catholic servants, and forthwith ordered the priest to leave. The ruffian, for such he is, threatened to set his dog at the clergyman, threatened to pull the collar from his neck, and even confronted him at the gate of the next house, and told him neither should he enter there, except at the point of the bayonet. To all this Father Gleason, doubtless remembering the admonition “Blessed are the meek,” answered merely, “Sir, you are a gentleman.” Thank God that another Dives of this character does not reside in Stamford.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Reverend Joseph M. Gleason was an Assistant Pastor at St. John’s in 1877 and 1878.)

THE STAMFORD ADVOCATE:
110 years ago, or so:
August 1, 1901: “The repairs on the exterior of St. John’s R.C. Church are going ahead, and the work made necessary from the recent stroke of lightning and the wear of the weather, will be completed in the course of a month or so. Dean & Horton have the replacing of the lower step of the main entrance entrusted to them, and the restoring of the second step. The rejointing of the roof stones and chimneys is being done under their supervision by Daniel O’Connell & Son. The crosses on the east and west gables are to be replaced.”

95 years ago, or so:
August 1, 1918: Miss Kennedy A Bride. “Miss Margaret Kennedy was married, this morning, by the Rev. J. C. O’Brien, in St. John’s Catholic Church, to Michael W. Flemming. Miss Kennedy is well known in Stamford. She has been the organist in St. John’s Church for the last fourteen years, and as a vocalist, she has also gained fame. Mr. Flemming is a nephew of Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church. He has been engaged in the coal business here for a number of years.”

The Bread of Angels
– Fr Terry Walsh
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just man made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel” – Hebrews 12:22

Tears were running down his cheeks. The prophet was completely and utterly overwhelmed. But why was he crying? Ah, the drama of life is deeply immersed in mystery, especially the supernatural life. We believe in so much that we simply do not see. We cannot see our soul, yet it is immortal. We cannot see emotions such as love, fear, or joy, and yet we live by them. Indeed, the Saints remind us that all that we can see and touch will one day pass away, and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”(Revelation 21:1). At the same time, God has revealed that there are things that will in fact never pass away: “Love never ends”(1 Corinthians 13:8). Ah, the mystery of love is the mystery of God. Why then was Isaiah crying? Afterall, he was gazing upon Love personified. Imagine it! What a miraculous grace he was given before he was sent out to preach. He would speak about the Virgin Birth, the Suffering Servant, and the Consolation of Israel. God prepared Him by allowing him a glimpse of Heaven. As he stood before the Throne of God, the prophet was surrounded by myriads of angels and archangels all chanting with perfect sweetness and power, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Is the Lord of hosts!”(Isaiah 6:3). We enter into that very same chorus at every Mass, although now the Saints are there too. Imagine the sweet fragrances he was drinking in, incomprehensible to mere human senses. Isaiah was shaking, his tears increasing as his conscience was laid bear before the Throne. There was little doubt that he was a good man, afterall, he demonstrated an eager desire to serve the Lord. Yet, his tears revealed the shame of the wounds upon his soul due to sin. Immediately he felt a tremendous urge to run away. He was unworthy to stand in the presence of God and he knew it in the depth of his heart. His impurity was an offence to God. And yet, in that moment, the true contrition of the prophet pierced the Heart of Divine Mercy. Instantly, the doomed prophet was healed! God sent an angel to touch the sullied lips of Isaiah with a burning coal taken from the Altar, immediately purging all uncleanness. “Behold,” whispered the fiery seraphim, “this has touched your lips. You have been made clean. Your sins are forgiven.” What amazing words of love! What mystery! We hear those very same words in the Sacrament of Confession!

The Vision of Isaiah is real. Truly, we participate in the same scene when we walk through the doors of St. John’s to attend Holy Mass. It’s true. Countless angels and Archangels fill the sanctuary praising God and bowing down in adoration in sheer amazement as he confines himself in the host. They are really there! We’re “in heaven” at the Mass. Do you see it? Do you exhibit the same awe and wonder that Isaiah felt? Have you made a faithful effort to uncover the mysteries of faith through daily prayer and faithful reception of the graces that come through each personal encounter with Christ, Sacramentally? Indeed, as we penetrate the Mysteries of our faith, we’ll begin to understand the beauty of God and the ocean of His love. Bit by bit we’ll become ever more docile to the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and so respond to the invitation to stand in His presence, like Isaiah. We’ll be filled with that same Awe and Wonder; we will be made clean. When we peer behind the veil of the Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we’ll gain a deeper awareness of our filial relationship with God. He wipes our sins away with the gentle words of absolution; He touches our lips – not with a burning coal – but rather with His very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – the Bread of Angels! He calls us to walk in His Radiant Light from the very moment of our baptism. Are there tears running down your cheeks? How easily we are distracted. How fragile our commitment. What does it take for God to get our attention? Do the cares of daily life distract you from the spiritual reality of the Presence of Almighty God? He is truly gazing upon each one of us, not in a general way so that we might hide anonymously hide behind our neighbor, but rather, He is actually peering into each heart and inspecting the deepest regions of our conscience. The spiritual life is a journey. Naturally, there is a gradual growth. But conversion of the heart depends on our response to the invitation of grace. In the natural world, a child grows into adolescence and eventually into a mature person. On the other hand, the spiritual life, which is also meant to grow – requires a decision. We are not meant to remain in “spiritual adolescence” but rather, we are meant to hunger for heaven.

Spiritual adolescence might be something like this: Only an hour earlier I was rolling out of my comfortable bed. Barely awake, I hopped into the car to roll into Church and on the way out the door I grabbed a bagel, forgetting about the one hour fast from food before receiving Holy Communion. I rushed up the steps out of breath, yet again, but excusing myself because, after all, Mass hadn’t really started yet, the altar servers were still filing into the Sanctuary. Now seriously, imagine Isaiah strolling into Heaven late for his vision, and nonchalantly picking the sleep out of his eye, wiping the crumbs off his lapel, and yawning, as if the gift before him was ‘no big deal’ – as if it was just one more thing he had to do before getting on with the important and fun part of his day. There is more going on at Mass than meets the eye, the spiritual eye that is – and that’s the one that really counts. A lack of tears – of thanksgiving, of joy, of love for our Lord – may actually bring tears to His cheeks. The gift of life is a precious mystery of love. But we have to be attentive to it, else we will miss it and mistakenly grab onto fleeting things. Recall the childlike wonder at the beauty of a sunset – one that covered the entire sky with a fiery orange and red tapestry. As soon as you noticed it, you stopped in the middle of whatever it was that was occupying your attention and immediately turned your complete attention to that amazing scene! The mystery spoke directly to your heart and you knew, even as a child, that if you didn’t stop whatever you were engaged in at that moment and turn your gaze to that wonder before your eyes, it would be missed, perhaps gone forever. And in that little peek, your heart and mind were utterly captured by the beauty created by God. That childlike wonder, with the help of God’s grace, is meant to mature into a deep spiritual vision of the truth behind the veil of the natural world; that is, we’re meant to see more distinctly with the ‘eyes of the heart’ as St. Paul would say, the deeper mysteries of life that mould our souls and prepare us for eternal beatitude, provided we seek that vision; provided we drink in the Living Waters of Divine Grace, which come to us most abundantly in the Bread of Angels, the Eucharist. The wonder of life is a faithful contemplation of the mystery and love of the One who made it.